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Kaitlyn Furge Kaitlyn Furge
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If the clown shoe fits, wear it

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Edge photo by Kaitlyn Furge Edge photo by Kaitlyn Furge

The Bangor Mall buzzed with energy Saturday. Cheerful chatter filled the atrium by Macy's. Before we even reached the edge of the excitement, we were greeted by a clown in bright white face paint and an orange wig. 

He introduced himself as Papi. His suit looked as if it had been colored by a pack of Sharpies, but he hardly stood out in all the hubbub. Everyone was dramatic. It was Klownfest 2014, the yearly event that pools together Shrine Clowns and their families from around the country to entertain and learn. On the schedule of events for the day was a balloon competition, a clown skit competition and plenty of laughs and smiles. Last year's event was held in Portland. 

In our group, we brought along with us three munchkins, mostly to keep the appearance that we actually were sane adults and not some kind of circus stalkers. That, and of course, so the kids could enjoy the clowns. Then again, we weren't even sure how they would react to them. Kids seem to have two reactions to clowns: irrational fear, or gleeful celebration. As the three amigos posed with their newfound acquaintances Bo Bo and Papi, however, they seemed to sit in the middle of the two extremes. There was acceptance in their smiles, but it stopped just short of enthusiasm. Together, we merged into the sea of colored wigs. 

The munchkins' interest was piqued when the balloons started to appear. A few quick twists magically created a pair of inflatable swords. After a friendly duel, the requests started coming. Munchkin number three wanted a hat. 

'I'll give you a hat... if you give me a million dollars,' a clown who went by Jeb said. 

Munchkin number three didn't have a million dollars. She still got the hat. I blame the cuteness. 

The kiddos were magnets for collecting balloons. In less than half an hour, they had collected a ladybug bracelet and a dog to add to their collection. 

The clown parade started shortly after this. Some store employees stood at the thresholds leading out into the mall to see what all the commotion was about. Bagpipers dressed in traditional Scottish garb led the colorful cast through the mall, stopping every so often for musical interludes. One clown complained that he was getting a splitting headache. I don't think the pipers took him seriously. 

A few squeaky high-fives later, and we were packing the munchkins in the car. Seat belt check times three, and we were headed for the highway. 


The noise came unexpectedly from the back seat like a gunshot. Confused looks were exchanged. 

I informed the carload that the balloon dog had, rather suddenly, been put down. All that was left was what had been dubbed as 'clown droppings.' 

The clowning around thing was starting to rub off. Maybe it wasn't a bad thing.  

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 16:04


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